Plant views: A closer look at grapes
Grapes send up buds soon after breaking dormancy. After growing only a few inches, new shoots carry the beginnings of clusters of buds that will later bloom and set fruit.
The flower buds are tiny and because of their narrow petals, almost look fuzzy when they open into flowers. Late frosts can injure the buds and flowers at this early stage and can burn or even destroy the grape crop. Moist air and too much rain can encourage fungal problems as buds and flowers swell with fruit. If your fruit is prone to developing a dull white sheen (most common in European grape varieties), this is mildew — a problem best treated early by dusting the young fruits with sulfur dust soon after plants have finished flowering.
Small fruits form like clusters of tiny pearls and grow rapidly. Tiny grapes swell and will mature depending on weather and variety. Harvest grapes when they are sweet. Most grape varieties will hold their fruit well on the vines for weeks. But beware vanishing fruit since wildlife – especially squirrels and birds – will love dining on your grapes.
If left to dry on the vines, grapes will dry into raisins, but varieties that are not bred specifically for raisins are likely to produce very small or unimpressively flavored dried fruit. They are all still edible.
Both grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs.
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